Pan's Labyrinth ★★★★½

🏆93%
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This film is absolutely gorgeous in every way. The only element keeping it from being the perfect (visual) Fantasy experience (all the way around) is the lackluster cgi in parts. Thankfully, they make up for that with the phenomenal practical effects. I am talking some of the best I have ever witnessed. This is actually the element that scared me away as a kid upon first watch. I was eleven when this film was released, and I was able to check it out at a friends house. We were both scarred for life due to the insane creature-design, and then (without spoiling anything) the ending. The final moment, when you truly realize what the film was, is phenomenal. It’s an emotional gut-punch that showcases the tragedy of war, how far a power-hungry man will go, and the mind of a young girl who is placed in this horrifying situation. We explore the ins and outs of her feelings, and her thought-process.

Guillermo del Toro shows off every skill that he has ever learned and delivers his masterpiece. He also creates a world/lore unlike any other. It’s the “fairytale” formula, but we pull in multiple realistic storylines that make the movie feel like something “based on a true-story.” While I wasn’t all there on a few elements, I was mesmerized; as the majority of the film was an experience unlike any other. The world that she visits is magical, and you’re captivated with the “missions” that she has to continue to accomplish. You are also just angry because of how the darkest side of humanity is showcased from beginning to end. No film has ever felt quite like this one, and I’m excited to revisit it again soon with my wife. The visuals are enough to pull me back in, but it’s the heart at the center of this magical tale that will stick with me for awhile.

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